Friday, September 17, 2010


I wish my life was a Katy Perry music video. I mean, how could you possibly go wrong in a land filled with candy, or dancing on the beach half naked with one FINE man?

I haven't blogged in forever. I was sick of starting blog posts by saying that, so I decided to start off with Katy Perry. God, I want to be her. She's beautiful. Or Lady Gaga. Damn, that woman has got some serious talent, and she rocks the raw meat look;)

All-State auditions tommorow, scary scary. I wish I would've tried out last year so I could prepare myself for the anxiety and overwhelming nerves I will face tommorow. But I guess that's why they call it nerves, you can't really prepare for that feeling!

As trite (Oooo oo hello AP Lang word) as it sounds, I find myself mentally repeating the phrase "you don't know what you've got till it's gone". It's almost unfathomable to believe that my best friend is gone. Well not really gone, but she might as well be. Trust me a thirty minute road trip might as well be like flying to China in a state like Iowa. God, I miss her. Way too much. And I'm also extremely envious of her because she has left the "hell on earth" that I like to call High School. I think Good Charlotte says it best, my high school feels more to me like a jail cell, a penitentiary. I am so completely sick of the cliques, and the drama and the fact that I have three friends. I think it's the hardest thing in the world to trust people as it is, but its damn near impossible to trust people in high school. You never know when someone will stab you in the back. I'm so tired of the mundane routine every single day, and I seriously think this place is killing my spirit. It's killing my zest for life, and I want to break free so bad. Seriously, if I had to choose between cleaning toilets at Wendys or high school, I would pick the former hands down, no questions asked. I am sick of the immature people who realize that their disgusting and cruel actions really hurt people. Yes, I know I'm complaining, but something needs to change about high school. The so called "popular" beautiful girls that I constantly feel inferior around and the jocks have peaked now sure. But what are they going to be doing in 5 or ten years from now? Yep, absolutely nothing. I know that somewhere in the back of the mind. But sickeningly, I would give up everything, my intelligence and probably my dignity even, to spend one day in the life of someone on dance team, or a cheerleader. To see what it feels like to have all eyes on me, to be blonde and beautiful and skinny. That's the life I want. And I'm not sure if this is a phase but I would give everything for that life. I mean it, absolutely everything..

So cheers to another night sitting at home alone blogging, eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys, gaining another ten pounds, and feeling like I am an insignificant dot in this huge world..

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Letter To My Biff

*For blogging purposes, I have removed the names:) enjoy!

Dear ____, fellow trick, stripper chic member, stove creeper, chilis 22 year old flirter, lover, partner in crime, best frand

There will probably be lots of spelling and grammar issues in this paper. Just kidding, I’m not _______. It’s meeee, _________. Yep, spelled exactly like that. Haha. So I’ve guess I made a tradition (well I’m not sure if a tradition counts if I’ve only done it once) out of writing you letters on your birthdays. I remember last year I wrote you a letter in the IMC before school started. Haha. But I’m actually at home now. YAY, with a new car! Double YAY! Well it’s not really new I guess, but atleast I have SOMETHING to drive. Finally. But I definitely will miss our car rides. They were the best. Somehow we managed to cram the deepest conversations ranging from our favorite subject: BOYSJ all the way to families to school to college to futures into like 5 minute car rides from school to our houses. I have no idea how we do all that and manage to rock out to Miley Cyrus (our favorite person ever no matter what other people sayJ) in that little time. Just some more proof that you really are my best friend! You make me laugh till I cry or piddle (aka: pee a little) and I love you so so much for it. And on the other hand, you can listen to me go on and on for hours about people I don’t like and also the people I do like, very much;), and you don’t complain a single time. And I know it must be hard to listen to me talk so much, but you’re probably one of the best listeners ever and I know I can always turn to you for unbiased and truly good advice, and 99.9% of the time I follow your advice, and usually when I don’t it blows up in my face. Ehem ehem. You know what I’m talking about. Haha. But I guess the point of this is to tell you that I’m madly, insanely, unconditionally, irrevocably (yes, I stole this from Twilight) in love with you. You’re the definition of perfection. From your head to your toes you are the most beautiful person ever. Inside and out! Not many people can be like you, and I admire you for all the outstanding things you always seem to manage to do. From your crazy good grades (even though you’re the most ditzy person ever outside of school) to your amazing personality, I love everything about you. So live it up girly! You only turn 17 once. And I’m just happy that I’m only a year younger than you now. Cause when everyone else has their birthdays I feel like I’m always two years younger than them and it kinda sucks ya know? Hahahaha. Ok well, it’s approximately 4:46 and I have no idea where my phone is, but I’m going to text you and ask you where you areeeee. Okay. Anyways. I hope you have a fabulous day tommorow. You deserveee it love. And I know I probably mentioned this like four times in this letter already but I love you butttttttttttttloads.


My Weekend

This weekend was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while, and not it wasn’t only because we had a three-day weekend (although that probably added to it a little). Friday was graduation and choir had to sing at it, so we did that, and then after Graduation, me and a couple of friends went to IHOP and had a dinner that lasted for three hours. It was crazy. We ended up becoming best friends with the waiter we had and ended up talking to two of the servers there for hours. It was really fun, because we made new friends, and our waiter wasn’t exactly ugly;) haha. It was just a really fun night, because I usually don’t hang out with that group of people and it made me realize how much I missed them, and how excited I am to get to spend more time with them next year. On Saturday, my friend and I went grad party hopping and that was really fun. We then went to Wal Mart and got a bunch of supplies for this project we had to work on. We spent the whole day working on it and it was actually really fun. We found Blo Pens and ended up drawing all over each other. We then went to Hy-Vee (with the blo pen ink still all over us mind you) and we bought Double Fudge Brownie Ice Cream and devoured it. On Sunday, I pretty much spent the whole day watching One Tree Hill, my new obsession and then I saw Sex and the City 2 with my mom and brother, probably the most awkward part of this whole weekend. Haha. But the movie was good, it was funny and entertaining. I just would’ve picked some different people to go see it with. Haha. And today is Monday (no school yay!) And of course, I’m procrastinating and doing all my homework right now. What a good end to the weekend!

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas was a tragic movie about the Holocaust told through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy. Bruno is the son of a Nazi officer Ralf. Ralf and his family move from Berlin to the countryside after Ralf is promoted to commander of one of the worst concentration camps of the holocaust: Auschwitz. Since the story is told from Bruno’s perspective, it takes a childlike view perspective on the Holocaust. Bruno does not exactly understand the serious political situation that was occurring during this era, because he is so young.
Bruno is not happy at this new home, because he is confined to the grounds of his family’s home. He seeks companionship and adventure, but is not allowed to leave. However, Bruno eventually cannot take the boredom and his curiosity takes over. He leaves the house through a window of an outhouse and finds the concentration camp, which he naively believes is a farm. He ends up meeting a boy there, who is the same age as him named Shmuel. Bruno ends up befriending the boy, and visiting the concentration camp frequently to deliver him food and to talk to him through the barbed wire. Bruno is eventually taught that the “farm” is really a concentration camp and that Shmuel and his family were in the concentration camp because they were Jewish. Bruno eventually begins to realize the serious situation that Jewish people in the country were facing.
Bruno and his sister Gretel have a tutor named Herr, who is constantly feeding them propaganda, and anti-Semitic stereotypes while teaching them history. His sister Gretel is greatly influenced by these stereotypes and begins to support the Nazis, however Bruno knows better. He has met Shmuel and his family and know that they are innocent people. However, during this era, and in this country, so many of the people were discriminatory towards Jews. It was horrifying seeing how cruel and heartless the Nazi soldiers and commanders were when they beat and abused innocent Jewish people, especially children.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Continued

Eventually, at the end of the movie Bruno enters the camp in order to help Shmuel find his father, he puts on the “striped pajamas” and digs a hole in order to enter the camp. However, in their search for Shmuel’s father they get intermixed with a group of people who are going to the gas chambers. These people are told to remove their clothes for a “shower”. They enter and then the poisonous gas is placed into the chamber, and people are shown begging to be freed. They are pounding on the doors struggling to live, but they are no match for such a deadly gas. This is probably one of the most intense scenes in the movie. Bruno and Shmuel, who were accidentally placed inside the gas chamber, also die. Meanwhile, Elsa (Bruno’s mother) and Ralf are terrified that their son is missing and realize that he has entered the concentration camp. They run there to save him but it is too late.
Although the ending of this movie was very sad, it just showed me that these killings and concentration camps were completely unfair. As seen in the movie, Bruno, who was not even a Jew was killed. The obsession with a perfect race, and following Hitler, blinded these people so severely that they were willing to kill eight year old children. Although Bruno’s death was tragic, and he did not deserve it, I do believe this was a “slap in the face” for Bruno’s father and his family. They finally knew what it felt like to loose a loved one to something so tragic. They knew what the Jewish people were going through. And I hope that this made them realize how wrong and horrible what they were doing truly was.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band that was created in Liverpool in 1960 and has become one of the most successful, popular, and influential musical groups of all time. The group consists of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star. The Beatles began their musical career with "Skiffle" and 1950s rock and roll. But the group later worked in many genres ranging from folk rock to psychedelic pop. They also incorporated classical and cultural events into their music. The nature of their enormous popularity, which first emerged as the "Beatlemania" fad, transformed as their songwriting grew in sophistication. The group came to embody the progressive ideals, and counterculture revolution of the 1960s. The Beatles achieved UK mainstream success in late 1962 with their first single, Love Me Do. In the wake of the moderate success of "Love Me Do", "Please Please Me" their first album reached number two in the UK singles chart after its January 1963 release. Ten songs were recorded for Please Please Me accompanied on the album by the four tracks already released on the two singles. The band's third single, "From Me To You", came out in April and was also a chart-topping hit. It began an almost unbroken run of seventeen British number one singles for the band. On its release in August, the band's fourth single, "She Loves You", achieved the fastest sales of any record in the United Kingdom. up to that time, selling three-quarters of a million copies in under four weeks. It became their first single to sell a million copies, and was the biggest selling record in the United Kingdom until 1978.. With The Beatles, their second album, was released in late November ahead of the impending single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" with the song excluded in order to maximize the single's sales. With The Beatles became the second album in UK chart history to sell a million copies, a figure previously reached only by the 1958 South Pacific soundtrack.

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Tree Hill

The reason I watch this show is above:)

This show is my new obsession and craze. I can't seem to get enough of it, and I've watched the whole first season (yep, that's 23 episodes) in two days. This addiction began one day after school when I randomly decided to watch the show on TV. It was an episode from the middle of the fourth or fifth season, so I did not really understand much about the characters, but I was hooked. The drama, and intensity of the show just pierces you, even if you are a first time viewer. I immediately knew that I had to watch every episode of the show to figure out who these people were. The story line is great and all the actors are exceptional. Basically it is a story about a group of friends who live in Tree Hill, North Carolina. Lucas and Nathan Scott are the main characters, and are half brothers, as they share the same dad. Dan Scott, their dad, abandoned Lucas and his mother when she was pregnant with him, and is therefore one of the villains of the show and is constantly ruining people's lives. Lucas and Nathan hate each other at first, because they are both very competitive because they're on the same varsity basketball team, and because they never really had the chance to get to know each other. However, they eventually grow to become good friends and brothers. Peyton, Brooke, and Haley are the main actresses in this show, and they are great as well. Peyton is a brooding artist who must constantly cope with her mother's death. Brooke is the outgoing, popular, and eccentric cheerleader, and Haley is the genius, "tutor girl", who manages to snag one of the most well attractive guys at Tree Hill High School, Nathan Scott. I probably wouldn't be so in love with this show if it wasn't for the relationship between Nathan and Haley. It's safe to say I'm a huge "Naley" fan, and love every scene that they're in together. They end up getting married in high school, and somehow managing to make it work (well, at least so far I'm on the second season). I'm excited to continue watching the show and to see how they grow as characters and to see what new twists and turns the story line will take.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Frances Kellor

Frances Alice Kellor was an American sociologist who was born on October 20, 1873 in Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from the Cornell Law School in 1897 and studied at the University of Chicago and the New York Summer School of Philantropy. Frances Kellor was involved in social settlement and other social reform movements of the 20th century. She made efforts to improve migrating conditions for Black immigrants (especially women) from the South to the North, and European immigrants. She Organized the National League for the Protection of Colored Women, which educated African American women who had moved to the North and helped them find jobs and houses. She was a member of the New York State Immigration Commission. Kellor investigated the poor living and working conditions of immigrants and made the state bureau aware of this. The Bureau then initiated worker safety and educational services.Kellor was also an advocate for immigrants. They were treated horribly when they first arrived to the United States, and Kellor was responsible for greatly improving their living conditions.

Animal Farm

The story begins with, Old Major, a prize-winning boar who gathers the animals of the Manor Farm for a meeting in the barn. He tells them about a dream he had, in which humans did not opress or mistreat the animals on the Manor Farm. He tells the animals, that this dream is the ideal utopia, and leads them to accomplish this dream, and he also teaches them a song called the Beasts, in which he describes his dream.The animals are enthusiastic about Old Major's dream and are excited to begin to accomplish it. But he dies three nights after the meeting and three younger pig; Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer use Old Major's principles to come up with a plan called Animalism. Late one night, the animals manage to defeat the farmer Mr. Jones in a battle, running him off the land. They rename the property Animal Farm and dedicate themselves to achieving Major's dream. The cart-horse Boxer devotes himself completely to Old Major's dream, and has a motto of, "I will work harder."
At first, Animal Farm flourishes. Snowball works at teaching the animals to read, and Napoleon takes a group of young puppies to educate them in the principles of Animalism. When Mr. Jones reappears to take back his farm, the animals defeat him again, in what comes to be known as the Battle of the Cowshed, and take the farmer's abandoned gun as a token of their victory. As time passes, however, Napoleon and Snowball increasingly argue over the future of the farm, and they begin to struggle with each other for power and influence among the other animals. Snowball concocts a scheme to build an electricity-generating windmill, but Napoleon solidly opposes the plan. At the meeting to vote on whether to take up the project, Snowball gives a very good speech, but Napoleon attacks snowball, and takes over the farm.
Napoleon now quickly changes his mind about the windmill, and the animals, especially Boxer, devote their efforts to completing it. One day, after a storm, the animals find the windmill toppled. The human farmers in the area declare smugly that the animals made the walls too thin, but Napoleon claims that Snowball returned to the farm to sabotage the windmill. He stages a great purge, during which various animals who have allegedly participated in Snowball's great conspiracy—meaning any animal who opposes Napoleon's uncontested leadership—meet instant death at the teeth of the attack dogs. With his leadership unquestioned Napoleon begins expanding his powers, rewriting history to make Snowball a bad guy. Napoleon also begins to act more and more like a human by sleeping in a bed, drinking alcohol, and engaging in trade with neighboring farmers. The original principles of animalism did not permit that, but Napoleon did these things anyways.
Then, Mr. Frederick, a neighboring farmer, cheats Napoleon in the purchase of some timber and then attacks the farm and dynamites the windmill, which had been rebuilt at great expense. After the demolition of the windmill, a pitched battle ensues, during which Boxer receives major wounds. The animals rout the farmers, but Boxer's injuries weaken him. When he later falls while working on the windmill, he senses that his time has nearly come. One day, Boxer is nowhere to be found. According to Squealer, Boxer has died in peace after having been taken to the hospital, praising the Rebellion with his last breath. In actuality, Napoleon has sold his most loyal and long-suffering worker to a glue maker in order to get money for whisky.
Years pass on Animal Farm, and the pigs become more and more like human being; walking upright and wearing clothes. Eventually, the seven principles of Animalism and inscribed on the side of the barn, become reduced to a single principle reading “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Napoleon entertains a human farmer named Mr. Pilkington at a dinner and declares his intent to ally himself with the human farmers against the laboring classes of both the human and animal communities. He also changes the name of Animal Farm back to the Manor Farm, claiming that this title is the “correct” one. At the end of the book, they are looking through the window of the animal farm, the pigs look more like humans than pigs.
This book was very interesting and the way George Orwell compared the animals to an actual significant event in history was compelling. It helped me to understand the historical event better and this made it more interesting. This book showed that the animals slowly evolved into humans, forgetting completely about Old Major's original dream, and allowing the struggle for power and authority to get in the way of a more prosperous society. The book also demonstrated the fact that socialism fails, and that complete power corrupts all. This is portrayed in many examples through out history, from dictatorships to socialism to the Russian tsars.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


So yesterday, when I went in to take the actual test I will admit I was a bit nervous. I mean your whole future is inside that intimidating booklet of SAT questions. Your whole future waits for you at the desk you choose to sit in. Do I sit in the row with smart people? Will their smart energy waves be sent back to me? These questions sound absolutely ridiculous right about now, but yesterday that was honestly what was going through my head. That seemingly simple little test holds so much power. It decides your fate. What college you will attend, and what you do with your life. These are things that no one can take lightly. In fact, that seemed to hit me for the first time when I saw an 11 year old taking the SAT in a classroom filled with 16 and 17 year olds. My first reaction was “wow, poor kid, his parents probably pushed him into this and make him feel a ton of pressure to do good”. And although this is partly true, I feel like you need to have some sort of self-motivation to go through with something like this. So I’m sure that eleven-year-old kid, just like me, wants to find success, but wants an easy way to do this. However, success is rarely beneficial if you found it easily. So back to the test, I finally chose a seat, and sat down with ten number two pencils (yes ten, one for each section haha) and began to take the test that would seal my destiny. And I can’t tell you how I did. I never really know. I felt decent about it. Of course, there were those questions that left me stumped, and there were those that I answered instantly, but if you asked me to guess what I’d got I’d tell you I have no idea. It could be a 200, it could be a 2200. Who knows? But after the test was over, two things were running through my mind.
2.) That actually wasn’t that bad for being a five hour test. And as much as I hate admitting my parents were actually right; if that SAT prep course helped me with anything, it got me in the mental zone and focus for taking a five hour test.

SAT Part I

I took the SAT on Saturday morning, and this will sound crazy, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. By no means am I saying I managed to get a perfect score, or even a good score for that matter. All I’m saying is that this five-hour test turned out to sound more treacherous than it actually was. And I think part of that was the fact that I had taken this horrible SAT prep course at the Kaplan Center. It was every Saturday and Sunday, so I pretty much dreaded. Just think, waking up early every single day of your weekend, driving to Iowa City, and learning. We do enough of that Monday-Friday, and we definitely don’t need anymore of that on the weekends. I was furious with my parents when I found out that they had signed me up for it. They invested a lot of time and money into this course, and me being the magnificently lazy person that I tend to be, did not take the course seriously whatsoever. We would take practice tests of Saturdays that would start at 10:30 and end at 2:30 and they were horrible. I would give up halfway through the test and end up with horrible scores. However, on the last practice test, I went in with the mindset that I would not give up and that I would be focused on the test the whole time, and I did significantly better

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Cold War

In the years immediately after World War II, America had begun to reconstruct itself after many years of difficulties. For the first time since the 1920s, America had finally begun to regain its prosperity. Our country had just finished World War II victorious. Our troops were back home, the unemployment rates were down, and the economy was steadily improving. Circumstances seemed to be great, however, as the Cold War began, American people began to live in fear and uncertainty. In fact, there was a name for this specific time period: The Second Red Scare. Some of the greatest fears of Americans during this time were atomic weapons, communism, and threats from the Soviet Union.
As apparent in document B, this obsession with preventing communism in America had become something Americans were willing to sacrifice everything for. After World War II the era of McCarthyism became very popular. As stated in Document A, we were also fearful of what investigators would do to Americans. In fact, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and were thouroughly investigated by the government. As also stated in Document B, due to this obsession and fear of communism, many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. McCarthyism was a widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all Americans and was the source of a great deal of debate and conflict in the United States. McCarthyism accurately represented the terror and fear Americans had of communism entering the country.
Document D speaks about the Public Law 627, that President Eisenhower enacted. Also known as The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 it was enacted on June 29, 1956, when President Eisenhower passed it.This law used $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles of Interstate Highways over a 20-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history to that point. This act directly related to our fears of the Cold War. Eisenhower stated that his purpose for passing this law was for national defense. In the event of an invasion by another country, our military would require good roads to be able to quickly transport troops around the country. He also insisted that one out of every twenty miles of road be laid straight so that it could be used as an airstrip in a state of emergency. Following completion of the highways the cross country journey that took the convoy two months in 1919 was cut down to two weeks.
Another thing that Americans feared during this era was the Soviet Union. According to document E, one of our greatest fears was an atomic bombing from the Soviet Union. In fact, this document speaks about the disadvantages that we face with the coming of the new missile age. And it asks a very controversial question: should we wait for the Soviet Union to bomb us, or should we do it first? The Soviet weapons program began in 1943 during World War II, under Igor Vasilievich Kurchatov. This program required reports collected by members about the Manhattan Project in the United States It was very successful because of the sympathies of many for the wartime Soviet Union fighting Nazi Germany. This fear that we had of Soviet Spies and atomic weapons leads us to Document F. A picture that depicts our governments only concern at the time; missile programs. By the early 1960s The Air Force's BOMARC air defense missile had seven squadrons along the nation's eastern and northern borders. We also wanted to establish a nationwide missile defense system, but after 15 years of controversy, the program was canceled in 1972 as a result of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed with the Soviet Union. Document H also discusses our obsession with defense spending. It greatly increased during the years of the cold war. In fact from 1949 to 1951 it went up by almost 20%. According Document G, important things like education had taken a backseat to our country’s defense and war against communism and the Soviet Union.
American’s fears at this time seemed to destroy their prosperity and excellent economy after World War II. Rather than distribute government spending equally, they placed all of their emphasis on our nation’s defense, in fear that the Soviet Union would attack. Americans constantly lived in fear of the Soviet Union. Whether it was their threats for a potential nuclear war, threat to spread communism, or Sputnik, their orbiting Satellite, this was an era in which we allowed the Soviet Union to control our actions.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Harry Potter Mania

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was such a good movie. I watched it on Friday night, and it made me fall in love with the series all over again. There was a time when I was completely obsessed. Like I would read the books constantly and watch the movies 10 times in a row, and watch interviews with Harry, Ron, and Hermione online. And although that obsession has ceased, I still am absolutely amazed by what this series of books has created. J.K. Rowling is a genius. It seems like a pretty simple concept, create a world of magic full of witches and wizards. Why didn’t I think of that first? I could be rolling around in millions of dollars right now? However, with her quirky imagination, and knack for detail in writing Rowling has created one of the best children and teen book series to ever hit the shelves. In fact, I know people who are so obsessed with the book series; they actually believe Hogwarts is real. And I must tell you, that I was/am one of those people. And those people who are living in denial usually tell themselves that they didn’t receive the letter because they are muggles (humans). But they do truly believe that there is a world of magic, and witchcraft that we have not yet seen, but that it does really exist.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attend The Tale of Sweeney Todd!

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd! This musical is driving me absolutely insane. I first saw the movie last year after listening to our show choir sing one of their songs and immediately fell in love with it. It is so powerful and intense, and just downright creepy, but definitely in a good way. However, this last month has been seemingly endless, filled with rehearsals, and running certain songs thousands of times, until they are flawless. Although we are told it will pay off, we haven’t yet fully been able to reap in the rewards. However, we got our first taste of success today. In order to understand the full impact of this success, I must explain this week to you.

Monday: Rehearsal from 3-10 pm
Tuesday: Rehearsal from 3-10 pm
Wednesday: Three Shows. 6:30 am-5:00 pm
Thursday: Show 5-10
Friday: Show 5-10. Cast Part 10-12
Saturday: Show at 2 and 5.

Yes, I am drowning in Sweeney Todd rehearsals. Don’t get me wrong I love singing and performing, however, this is getting a bit ridiculous. The frustration and tension are apparent at rehearsals as well. There are so many misunderstandings and miscommunications, that it is almost impossible not to be stressed out.

Now, although I am complaining immensely, there is a point to talking about how crazy this week has been. It made me sit down and truly think about why I put myself through this. I could easily have not have tried out for the musical, and had a calm stress free week. But that was not the case. What was my motivation for putting myself through this hell? Well, it’s simple (and a bit cheesy) I love to perform. That feeling we get on stage when something goes right is just a magnificent one. That feeling when someone applauds you on a job well done is unforgettable. Sweeney Todd is a tremendous musical. It is extremely difficult for a professional Broadway Cast to implement, let alone a group of high schoolers. But it is ridiculous the amount of talent we have in this show. I am shocked at how outstanding our leads are. They work their butts off and the results have shown. I am so proud of how far we have come, and I know that the next couple of shows are going to be fabulous!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was a term that described the era during which an immense cloud of dust seemed to absorb cities. They began in 1934 in Montana and Wyoming, and the dust traveled eastward, and eventually spread to Iowa and Wisconsin. The dust was inescapable and eventually became a part of daily life for people who were considered to live in the “Dust Bowl”. The Dust Bowl was a dark time for American History. The cause of this large amount of dust was the droughts that had been occurring in the high planes. In order to survive the extreme weather conditions, the prairie grasses had to develop deep roots. However, farmers wanted to exploit and uncover the rich soil beneath the grasses and Dust Storms were an affect of this.
Along with the dust storms, came the Great Depression, and the combination of these two events shattered the dreams of many Americans to travel to lands of opportunity in the west. The rains had failed them, and their crops were destroyed. The wind eroded their land, and they were not able to make money through agriculture anymore. In fact, John Steinbeck wrote one of the most influential novels about the Dust Bowl and life during the Great Depression. In his book, he used the story of a fictional character to portray the real things that people faced during this era. He spoke about California and how it used to be an “agrarian dream of economic sufficiency and independence.” However, “the dream turned into a nightmare.” The people who migrate there quickly realize that this once was a land of agricultural opportunity and success, but because of the Dust Bowl, it is now dry and barren land, that will be impossible to farm.
There is some controversy about Steinbeck’s story however. Many people believed that since he based the novel on a fictional character that the historical details were not accurate. However, this was not the case. Steinbeck performed extensive historical research in order to truly understand this time period and the struggles that real people faced during this era. This has been proven by research performed by social scientists and government officials. For example, Dorothea Lange and her husband Paul Taylor followed the migrant trail from Oklahoma through Texas and across the desert to the migrant camps in California. Lange was a photographer hired to document rural life. She and Taylor eventually published a book that displayed the struggles and horrors that people faced during this time, and used shocking pictures as evidence that this was actually what occurred during that time.
The Dustbowl of the 1930s lasted a decade, and it was an era of obstacles and struggles for Americans. With the arrival of the stock market crash, matters were already difficult, but with the added environmental issues caused by the Dust Bowl, agriculture and farmers suffered as well, making matters worse for the American economy.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Cloning is the biological process of creating populations of genetically identical individuals through asexual reproduction. Cloning has the ability to produce more individuals of a certain organism, and to aid in the process of stem research that could potentially save many humans. In recent years, the controversy over cloning has been very prominent in society. I believe that cloning should be allowed because it is beneficial to research on certain pathogens, can create new healthy organs that could be transplanted to save someone’s life, and can aid infertile couples.
Cloning is a very complex process in which the DNA of a creating organism, or cell is cloned in order to produce an identical copy of that organism with the exact same DNA. Scientists successfully cloned the infamous sheep, “Dolly” in 1996. Dolly was the first mammal that was cloned from an adult somatic cell using the process of nuclear transfer. Nuclear transfer occurs when the DNA from an oocyte (unfertilized egg), us injected into the nucleus, which contains the DNA to be cloned. If the transfer is successful, the newly constructed cell will divide normally, replicating the new DNA while remaining in a pluripotent state. The cloned cells are then placed in the uterus of a female mammal, and an identical organism is formed. Although this process seems like it would generally work, the chances of succes are very rare, and is indeed one of the reasons cloning is frowned upon. The low efficiency of this technique has caused most scientists to abandon it. However, when you think of the millions of couples in this world who want a child and cannot have one, this process is their only hope. They would be willing to take a chance on this process that rarely works, just so that their dreams of having a child could potentially come true. Most couples are so desperate to have a child that they are willing to try anything. What is the harm in trying? Although this is a very long and complicated process, the feeling that a couple gets when they know they are going to have a child definitely makes everything worth it.
Nuclear Transfer cloning is also used in Stem Cell Reasearch. Stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with desired characteristics of other organs, tissue, and muscles through a cell culture. Highly plastic adult stem cells from a variety of sources, including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, can be used in medical therapies. Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells produced by therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies. However, the controversy that has developed is that embryonic stem cell technology will not always work for reproductive cloning and can fundamentally devalue human life. However, if this research continues to be pursued by scientists, its impact could be tremendously advantageous. For example, a patient who needs a heart transplant, but who cannot find a matching donor, could use a heart created through nuclear transfer cloning. Although many are skeptical about the process, I believe with more research, cloning could potentially benefit many people.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I’m taking the SAT on May 1st, and quite frankly, I’m utterly terrified. I’ve been taking this SAT Test Prep Class in Iowa City, and although I feel like it has helped me immensely, it still doesn’t relieve the pressure that I will face in the next year. As the time for college applications and all that good stuff approach, I realize that I have absolutely no clue as to where I want to go. I know that I want to do Pre Med, but I’m not sure where or what requirements I must meet in order to get into the school of my choice. A lot of my friends are getting into these amazing colleges (for example, Harvard, Yale, RIT, and MIT) and this scares me. I know that they’re a year older, and are supposed to have this kinda stuff figured out already, but now that I think about it, senior year isn’t really that far away. And this time next year, I will know where I will be living and spending the next four years (possibly 8-12 for Medical School) of my life. And that’s another thing; not knowing what the future holds or where I’m going to be living in a year and half. Not having the answers just sucks. And this obsession that everyone has with college searches is getting to me. I went on a college visit a couple weeks ago to Washington University and it was such a beautiful campus. The academics are great as well as the extracurricular activities there and I could definitely see myself fitting in perfectly there. It’s an exceptional school and I would be thrilled to get acceptance there. But a lot of people have been telling me about how selective it is, and that scares me too. I don’t feel like I’m doing or have been doing enough to get into a school like that. I think I need to make a complete life style change in this next year and a half. A change that includes studying a lot harder, getting more involved in extracurricular activities as well as in the community, and researching colleges and where I want to go and what I need to do to get into them.

Washington University

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Soulja Boy is CRAZY!!!
As I sit in 64B in front of this computer screen, I stare at it hoping it will give me something to write about. I think I am fresh out of good ideas. I think I've done my fair share of blog posts that are actually meaningful and not completely random, so therefore it is time for a random one.
I love Gummy Krabby Patties. My friend Krisanthamum and I are obessed with them. They are so good. In fact, one day in the summer I rode my bike to her house with an enormous bag of them. However, I did not know where to put them and so I hid them in a bush near her house. I was terrified that a racoon would eat them, but this was not the case. As we walked back towards the bush, the Krabby Patties were untouched. I love Spongebob. It's such a good show. So random, but that's part of what makes it hilarious. I'm pretty sure I will still be watching it when I'm an adult. In fact, I was at Wal Mart yesterday and I was about to get a spongebob popsicle but one of the people I was with made fun of me so I decided against getting one. Although I really wanted it. In fact, I want one right now a spongebob popsicle sounds absolutely delicious right now.
This weekend was really slow. But sometimes, I think those are the best kinds of weekends. The ones where you don't have to wake up early or do anything really during the day. Like on Saturday, I just watched TV pretty much the whole day, because there was a Buried Life marathonon. I love that show! It's so good. For those of you who don't know about it, it's basically a show about a group of friends who travel around on this bus and do things on their list of things to do before they die. Some of the crazy things they've already done or attempted to do have been; learn how to krump, play basketball with Obama, deliver a baby, ask out Megan Fox, and crash a party at the Play Boy mansion. It's really entertaining and it's also a really great show because the guys help other people do things on their bucket lists as well. They met a girl whose mother had died in Hurricane Katrina, and she hadn't visited her mother's grave because it was in a different state and she could not afford to travel there. So the guys got her a ticket to go see her grave, and they went with her. It was really sad but also very touching.

Nicholas Sparks

I think I'm in love with Nicholas Sparks, actually no, I think I'm obsessed. There's just something about the way he writes with such an honesty and innocence. His stories become addicting to probably every female who has ever had the privilege to read one of his novels. However, I do have one complaint about his books; he creates false, unrealistic depictions of men. I'm sure there are some Will Blaklees, Noah Calhouns, and Landon Carters in this world. But really, how often do we come along guys like these? Guys who would do anything for you. Guys who stand by you when you have cancer, guys who stand by you when you are on your death bed from Alzheimer’s, and guys who love you for who you are. Those guys are miraculous. And I can't say that I truly believe in miracles, at least not until I witness or experience one myself.
I finished reading “The Last Song” last night and saw the movie on Sunday night. It was incredible. The movie was so well made and perfectly cast (Liam Hemsworth, I LOVE you:).The plot was dramatic and interesting and woven into the story were little lessons about life and love that are invaluable. It was extremely sad and I bawled practically the whole second half of the movie. But when the movie ended I realized I wasn’t just crying because the movie was sad. I was crying because I realize Will Blaklees (the main guy in the movie) do not exist. Even if they do, I doubt I will find one. To think that I won’t probably ever find someone like that is quite depressing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no such thing as “the perfect person”. We just have to settle for someone who is perfect for us. As much as I want a Will Blaklee or Noah Calhoun, I know that it will take some time to find a love like that; that kind of love that is blind and sees through imperfections and flaws, an everlasting one. And I know that I’m probably not even mature enough to handle something like that at the moment, as much as I want to believe that I am. So for the time being, I will continue to read exceptional novels written by Nicholas Sparks and hope that someday I will find my Will Blaklee, or Liam Hemsworth, either one works:).

Friday, April 2, 2010


So I am aware that I have already fulfilled my blogging requirements for this week, but surprisingly tonight I approach this word document and because I actually want to. This is a first; as I will admit that blogging has become a chore in the past couple weeks. But writing always seems to help get things off of my chest, or express something that I could never do in words. When friends or family just don’t seem to understand it seems quite convenient to blog about it.
What started out as quite a wonderful week, ended in utter disaster. I’m not really sure how it happened actually. But just when it seemed like things were going great, everything just collapsed, like things usually tend to in life. I guess it just hurt that much more because I wasn’t really expecting it. At the beginning of the week I took risks and opened myself up, at the end of the week I went back to being a hermit. At the beginning of the week I was constantly smiling and laughing, at the end of the week my cheeks were tear stained. At the beginning of the week, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, at the end of the week, I realized I couldn’t obtain a single one of those things. Although trust and extroverted-ness are great, I’ve realized they don’t always get you what you want. Trusting people is not easy, and when you finally do it, you generally end up hurt: evidence of this lies in my experiences this past week.
As I sit here and listen to a beautiful version of “Love Me Tender” by Norah Jones, I realize yet another thing this week has taught me; Love does not exist. Nope, the love you see in movies and hear about. That undying love between a husband and wife, or a mother and child, is a bunch of BS. Love is not perfect, it is not kind. It is cruel and honest and brings you back down to earth when you think things are going great. Love gives me hope is probably one of my favorite websites, but to actually believe that some of that stuff happens in real life is ridiculous, miraculous even. And as much as I want to believe in miracles I can’t say that I genuinely do.
Another thing I’ve realized this week: the future and growing up terrify me. Finding out yet another one of your genius friends got into Harvard or Stanford, makes me feel just a little bit more insignificant. It feels as though everyone around me is succeeding, while I am sitting in my small town, proud of myself for being able to manage an A in AP Chemistry. The future billionaires of our world surround me, and I can barely understand derivatives. It terrifies me that I won’t be the person I want to be. It terrifies me that I will disappoint the people who count on me, and myself.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Glitz and Glamour of Show Choir

Bright red lipstick and colorful eye shadow is scattered across the bathroom counter. Millions of frantic girls are running all around the miniscule bathroom trying to find the perfect spot to look in the mirror. This is the world of “Show Choir”, and the crazy things we deal with to get that fabulous “stage appropriate” look.
The first step to a perfect show choir look is a clean palette. Therefore, the first thing I do to prepare for a show choir competition is I use make-up remover to remove previous make-up. I then exfoliate and cleanse to perfection and apply all sorts of lotions to my face. Then the make-up begins. I usually apply my show choir make-up at home before we go to a competition, but if the competition is out of town, I usually complete it there. I begin with foundation to remove shine and then I use concealer to make my skin glow. Next, I use liquid eyeliner on the top of my eyes, and pencil eyeliner for the bottom. Bright red lipstick or lip gloss is next, then comes eye shadow. Generally, I have a friend do this for me, because I am not the best at eye shadow. The first color I use is white, which goes on my eyelids, and then I use pink and silver and mix these together, to get the ideal color. This process usually takes an hour, because I am a perfectionist when it comes to hair and make-up for show choir. After my make-up is flawless, I move to the most dreaded, terrifying thing for show choir girls, hair. This year, we straighten our hair, part it to the right, and poof it in the front. I begin this process, by washing my hair, and then straightening it. Subsequent to straightening, I separate my hair into four portions. One for the side part, one for the hair put in the ponytail, one for the hair left down, and one for the hair that will be back combed. I begin by taking separate strands from the portion of my hair that will be back combed. I back comb these strands and put them in the front, until the whole section is back combed. Then, I put the hair back and hairspray it. For extra lift and better hold, I place a “bump it” (an item used to help poof your hair) and place it under the crown of my hair. I put it in a super tight ponytail and hairspray it some more and adjust the poof, so that it looks more polished. After this, I take the second portion for the side part and part it to the right, and put three to four bobby pins in there, so that it is secure. I straighten my hair again, and then put more hairspray in. Hairspray is the key to this process, and I can go through a whole bottle for one competition! Less is never more in show choir! After this process, my hair is a hard and sticky mess from all the hairspray, but the poof is colossal and I am almost ready to hit the stage.
Before we can perform, we have to put our lovely costumes on! This year, we have gorgeous purple dresses for our opener and ballad (slow song), and white shorts and a black halter for our novelty (comical song), and closer. We put on our uncomfortable strapless bras, panty hose, and purple spankies, and then put our black halters on over that. The black halters usually slide down during performances, so we use double stick tape to make sure that they stay up. After this, we put our purple dresses, earrings, and shoes on. We take our white shorts and place them on the costume rack in numerical order, so that we can find them for our costume change. Finally, we are ready to perform, but we still have to warm up! Mr. Sands, our director, usually gives us a certain time to be ready; and ready or not, we have to start warming up at that time. We stand in a circle, with Mr. Sands in the middle playing the piano, and run through our warm-ups. If we have time, we may even practice a few trouble spots that take place during our show. After this is done, we line up and link arms with our ballad partners. We are told to be silent, and we walk to the warm-up room. This dreadful walk is filled with nervous emotions and looks of excitement. It seems to last forever, and by the time we arrive at the warm-up room, we are about to burst with energy. In the warm up room, we run through our show, and quickly do what we can to fix our trouble spots. We work on vocals, choreography, and energy, and then finally we get the call to go to the stage.
Squeals of excitement and nervous laughter can be heard from all around. Darrius leads the Protégé cheer that is as follows: “Alright, Alright, Alright!” “Okay Okay Okay!” Alright! Okay! Get down Protégé! We are full of energy, excitement, and nerves after this cheer, and we just can’t wait to take the stage and perform an incredible show. But first, we go to a storage room, and grab the millions of props that we use. I take the stairs for the soloists onto the stage, and place them behind the stage. Then, I grab my white shorts from the costume rack and place them in the changing areas. Then, I grab my sign for the novelty and place it by my shorts. People are frantically placing desks (for our novelty) on the sides of stage, and screaming out words of encouragement. At some competitions, we are timed, and at those competitions we are even more stressed out about getting all of our props ready. Finally, we are ready to take the stage, and we line up on the sides. Hugs and nervous smiles are shared with the people that stand nearest to me. We hear the drum that cues us to go on, and it is time to go on stage, and perform our hearts out.

Poverty: Our Nation's New Epidemic

• A family is considered to be below the poverty line if their income is less than the threshold that the government establishes.

• Money income is determined based on the family’s wages, unemployment compensation, and social security. Capital Gains and non cash benefits are not included in the income. The income is calculated before taxes are removed.

• The threshold is the average income, according to the government, that is adequate for a family to buy necessities. The threshold was originally derived in 1963 and used food budgets and data about what families spend their money on to come up with the average threshold. There are forty-eight different thresholds that vary according to family size, family age, and what a family spends the majority of their income on.

• The most common thresholds include:
Three Person Household-$16,530.00
Four Person Household-$21,203.00
Five Person Household-$25,080.00
Six Person Household-$28,323.00
Seven Person Household-$32,233.00

• As supply and demand changes and the prices for basic needs increase, the thresholds have steadily increased from 1959. These thresholds have increased more rapidly than the average income in the United States, which is why the percentage of people below the poverty line has increased.

• According to this graph, the highest percentage of people in the United States who live below the poverty line is the age group of 11 and under.

• Poverty rates can be misleading because they represent an average over the whole population. They are also misleading because the thresholds are usually very inaccurate. The thresholds do not include crucial things like medical care and education. In reality, the threshold should me much higher, but it is not.

• In the United States African Americans and Hispanics are the highest percentages of people living below the poverty line. Approximately 22.1% of African Americans and 21.2% of Hispanics are living in poverty. Poverty rates are high for single women with children, in metropolitan and urban areas, and in the southern portion of the United States. In fact, there is a poverty line drawn through the United States that separates the southern portion from the northern. The Midwest, western and northeastern parts of the United States have far less people living in poverty than in the South.

• The United States does not spend very much of its budget on helping these people who live in poverty. For example in 2005 only .39% of the fiscal budget was spent on aiding these deprived families.

• Although the government does not devote a lot of money to helping these families they do have poverty guidelines that determine monetary eligibility for certain programs. These programs include HHS (Children’s Health Insurance), Department of Agriculture (which provides food stamps and reduced lunches at school), Department of Energy (Weatherization Assistance), Department of Labor, and the Legal Services Corporation.

• Statistics:
-3.5% of U.S. households experience hunger.
-12.7% of Americans live below the poverty line.
-35.9 million people live below the poverty line, including 12.9 million children.
-41 billion pounds of food were wasted in one year.
-For a family of four vegetables, fruits, meat, and grain products cost approximately $590 per year.

Super Nova

The smell of stale hairspray, combined with burning hair and loud frantic voices engulf the air. The tiny classrooms with desks pushed against the wall is about to explode. It is crammed to the limit with members of Protégé, parents, friends, and directors, squealing and screaming with pure joy as we all grasp the first place trophy, that we have put our blood, sweat, and tears into. I can’t imagine sharing this moment with anyone but these people, my extended family that I have grown to love, and share the passion of show choir with.
The cold air was invigorating as I stepped out the front door, decked out completely in green and gold. I climbed into the car with my best friend Emma, and we chattered excitedly about our first competition of the season. We were already running late, and were panicking about our hair and make-up, and hoping we would have enough time to look “stage” ready. We entered the homeroom and were struck by the chaos. There were girls fighting for a spot at the mirror, boys putting on make-up, people coughing and choking down water. The mad rush to the finish line began as we grabbed our make-up and costume bags and scattered to find a place to get ready. Finally, after an hour flew by, everyone was ready and we were standing in a circle preparing for the inspirational pep talk that awaited us. Mr. Sands began by saying “you have worked so hard these past few months, and now the time has come for you to go out there, and leave it on the stage”. “It’s not about winning, but putting on your best show.” Oh sure, we’ve all heard this spiel from millions of coaches and directors, but we really wanted to win. I grasped my best friend, Edwin’s hand and squeezed, a mix of emotions filled my body. I was terrified, nervous, thrilled, and full of energy all at once, and just couldn’t wait to get on that stage and produce an extraordinary show. I looked around at the faces of everyone and see similar emotions. Mr. Sands announced that we were going to the warm-up room, and a rush of adrenaline hit me. In a mere, twenty minutes, we would be on a stage singing and dancing our hearts out. We linked arms with our ballad partners, lined up, and left, to perform what we hoped would be an incredible show.
My heart was pounding out of my chest and beating so fast that I could practically hear it whirring. We were standing on the sides about to go on stage. A chorus of “break a leg” and “leave it on the stage” could be heard and then the drum beat cued us to enter. “From Cedar Rapids, Kennedy, Protégé!” A second drum beat and the show began. For those next twenty minutes, I felt this huge adrenaline rush and blast of energy in every inch of my body. For those twenty minutes, nothing in the world mattered, but our show, our singing and dancing, and the screaming audience. For those twenty minutes, I was in paradise. As we hit our final pose, and lunged with our jazz hands stretched out, the audience boomed with incredibly loud applause. At that moment, I realized that show choir, singing and dancing are three things I could not live without. They are an enormous part of who I am, and at that moment, I knew that I live to perform.
We danced off the stage and completely collapsed on the sides. I made my way to every member of Protégé with a hug and words of pride and happiness for what we all accomplished. We were led to the library for a critique that was filled with compliments, and some criticism. We left the room feeling like superstars and made our way to the gym for awards. We sauntered past our rival group, Urbandale Vitality, and although we had not yet seen their show this year, we knew it was excellent. From all the “” gossip we had heard Urbandale has a remarkable prep group and would probably win. But as we entered the gym, the only thing on our minds was the huge party occurring in the center of the gym. Of course, we were exhausted but none of us could resist the party. For the next hour we danced and sang to NSYNC, Rihanna, and Journey, being the show choir geeks we all were. Finally, the judges have tabulated the scores and had the envelope in their hands. Results were not the only thing in there. It also had the heart, soul, hard work, tears, sweat, and practice of every single member of Protégé in it. It’s finally opened and the moment we had all been waiting for was finally there, so close, yet so far away.

Huddled together and squeezing each others hands the forty-eight of us all had the same thoughts racing through our minds, and the same rapid heartbeat. All the places have been announced, and there are two left. One for us, one for Urbandale. We now had a fifty-fifty shot of winning. But then the master of ceremonies said, “And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the first-runner up is…. Okay now its time for the caption awards.” Loud groans and complaints erupted throughout the gym. The tension was so high, and I could practically feel the intensity of glares from Urbandale Vitality.
They announced best choreography and of course it went to Urbandale Vitality. At this moment, my hopes were shot down, and I thought that Urbandale would definitely win. But then they announced best vocals and it went to us! We began to scream and jump for joy. One of our goals was to win best vocals, which is a huge honor at these competitions, and we had accomplished it. Now back to the moment we were all waiting for. It was a close race. Urbandale had won best choreography, but we had best vocals. “And the first runner-up is Urbandale Vitality”. The happiness that spread through my body was indescribable. I wanted to jump and scream and sing and dance, but all of this would have to wait. Out of sportsmanship we waited to erupt into cheer until they announced our names. “And the grand champion in the prep division for Linn Mar Super Nova 2009 is Cedar Rapids, Kennedy Protégé!”
At this point everyone in our area exploded. We screamed at the top of our lungs, cried tears of joy, and jumped around hugging one another. This win was incredibly special for me, because I had participated in show choir for three years and had never won. All our hard work finally paid off, and we truly did leave everything we had on the stage. We continued to scream at the top of our lungs for the next hour. People called their parents, grandparents, friends, aunts, and uncles to tell them of the good news. We all hugged our director, Mr. Sands and congratulated each other. It was the perfect ending to the perfect night.
It was our first competition ever and we had won. Everyone was really proud of us, and we were proud of ourselves. This family, this team, these people that I have spent unbelievable amounts of time with for the last three months standing together holding that grand trophy was a moment that filled my heart with tremendous joy. All our hard work had finally paid off, and sharing this moment with this extraordinary group of talented singers, dancers, and people was an event I will never forget.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Protein Synthesis

The first step of protein synthesis is transcription. Transcription begins with a regular double helix DNA. RNA polymerase binds to the promoter and moved across the strand untwining the double helix into a coding and template strand. RNA polymerase continues to move across the DNA strand in the 3 prime to 5 prime direction, adding complementary MRNA bases. The MRNA bases are still nucleotides but they use Uracil instead of thymine. After RNA polymerase has coded it detaches from the RNA and has now produced PreMRNA. Pre MRNA was produced from a segment of the DNA called the transcription unit. Transcription occurs in the nucleus, but before the MRNA can leave the nucleus it must be processed further.
RNA processing occurs only in eukaryotes, because prokaryotes do not have a nucleus in which they can be further processed. RNA processing is important because there are certain parts of the MRNA that do not code for the polypeptide. The ends of the MRNA do not code for the polypeptide. Therefore, a five cap of modified guanine is attached to the 5 prime end and a poly-a-tail with 30-200 adenine bases is attached to the 3 prime ends. Small nuclear ribonucleoproteins, also known as SNURPS combine with other proteins to form spleicosomes in order to remove the introns (noncoding portion of MRNA and this is the end of RNA processing and the Pre MRNA is now MRNA.
The final step of protein synthesis is translation. The general idea of this step is that MRNA enters the ribosome and puts together its codons with anticodons in the five prime to three prime order. The TRNA helps to do this, and when translation is over, you have a polypeptide sequence. For a more in depth look at translation, you begin with you MRNA strand and it enters the ribosome and attaches to the ribosomal subunit. TRNA then enters the ribosome with the anticodon that connects to the AUG, and when this occurs the amino acid Methionine is produced. A large ribosomal subunit (which is made of ribosomal RNA) comes in with a P site, and an A site, and the Methionine amino acid is currently located in the P site. TRNA enters again and produces an anticodon for the MRNA. These two amino acids are then connected by a peptide bond. The TRNA with the next amino acid is currently in the A site. The mRNA strand then shifts over and the Methionine amino acid leaves the ribosome through the E (exit) site and the next amino acid moves to the P site leaving room for another TRNA to enter the A site and create a polypeptide with its anticodon. This process occurs until a stop codon is found and then the release protein frees the completed polypeptide chain. Translation is divided into three steps, initiation, elongation, and termination. Initiation is when the TRNA anticodon creates a Methionine amino acid. Elongation occurs as the proteins move from the A site to the P site, to the E site, and the polypeptide chain gets longer. Termination occurs when the UAA, UAG, or UGA codon is located and the release protein releases the completed polypeptide from the ribosome.
The types of RNA in the final step of protein synthesis are extremely important for the production of proteins. Protein synthesis begins with DNA, which is a nucleotide sequence, without the creation of mRNA, the DNA sequence could not be translated properly, and the Thymines would not change to Uracil, which is a very important step for the TRNA to work properly. TRNA is also very important because it translates the DNA nucleotide sequence into an amino acid sequence, so that it can actually become a protein. RRNA is also important, because it is what the large ribosomal subunit is made of, and translation would not be possible without it.


Scientists have pioneered through the field of genetics and DNA trying to learn more and understand this complex structure. Hershey and Chase, Griffith and Avery, and Meselson and Stahl conducted three of the most important experiments of DNA. These remarkable discoveries helped scientists today to understand more about DNA and hopefully use this information to their advantage. In their first experiment they labeled the DNA of phages with radioactive phosphorus-32, which is present in DNA but not present in protein. They allowed the phages to infect E.Coli bacterium, and then removed the protein shells from the infected cells with a blender and centrifuge. They saw that the radioactive phosphorus was only visible in the bacteria cells and not the protein shells. In the second part of their experiment, they labeled the phages with radioactive sulfur-35, which is present in protein but not DNA. After separating the cell from the protein shell, the radioactive sulfur was found in the protein shell, but no in the infected bacteria, confirming that DNA is actually the genetic material of the phage that infects the cell. This was a huge step for scientists in the field of genetic material, because most people believed that protein had been the genetic material of a cell, but from this experiment, since the radioactive phosphorus was found in the DNA and not the protein, and the radioactive sulfur was found in the protein but not the DNA, it is concluded that DNA is indeed the genetic material.
Frederick Griffith was a British medical officer and geneticist who conducted an experiment, in which he discovered the “transforming principle”, which is today known as DNA. This famous experiment was done when Griffith was attempting to make a vaccine to prevent pneumonia in the influenza epidemic after World War I, using two strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium. The smooth strain was injected into mice and these mice died from pneumonia in a day or two. The smooth strain had a capsule on it that allowed the bacteria to resist the immune system. The rough strain was then injected into the mice, but they did not die, because the rough strain did not have a capsule. Griffith and Avery then heated the smooth strain and it did not kill the mice. But when the dead smooth strain was mixed with the live rough strain, the mouse died. Griffith and Avery were curious about this and he isolated the bacteria from the blood of the rough/smooth strain mouse. Griffith and Avery discovered that the rough strain had obtained capsules from the smooth strain bacteria, making all the bacteria smooth strained. Griffith and Avery then hypothesized that a “transforming principle” from the heat killed smooth strain converted the rough strain into the smooth strain. According to the Griffith and Avery experiment, the hypothesis is that the E.coli cells with the ampicillin resistant gene will continue to grow when placed in an agar with ampicillin. This occurs because the ampicillin resistant gene goes through the transformation process and enters the DNA of the E. coli completely changing the cell, allowing it to continue growing when it meets the antibiotic. This provided chemical evidence for the nature of the gene, because it proved that DNA the genetic material was transferred from one cell to another, even when the strain was killed by heat.
The Meselson-Stahl experiment was an experiment by Matthew Meselson and Franklin Stahl which demonstrated that DNA replication was semiconservative. Semiconservative replication is when the double stranded DNA helix replicated and each of the two double stranded DNA helices consisted of one strand coming from the original helix and one newly synthesized. E. coli. These were grown for several generations in a medium with nitrogen-15. When DNA is extracted from these cells and centrifuged on a salt density gradient, the DNA separates out at the point at which its density equals that of the salt solution. The DNA of the resulting cells had a higher density (was heavier). After that, E. coli cells with only nitrogen-15 in their DNA were put back into a nitrogen-14 medium and were allowed to divide only once. DNA was then extracted from a cell and was compared to DNA from nitrogen-14 DNA and nitrogen-15 DNA. It was found to have close to the intermediate density. Since conservative replication would result in equal amounts of DNA of the higher and lower densities, conservative replication was not included . But the results were consistent with both types of replication. Semiconservative replication would result in double-stranded DNA with one strand of nitrogen-15 DNA, and one of nitrogen-14 DNA, while dispersive replication would result in double-stranded DNA with both strands having a mixture of nitrogen-14 and nitrogen-15 DNA, either of which would have appeared as DNA of an intermediate density.
DNA was then extracted from cells which had been grown for several generations in a nitrogen-15 medium, followed by two divisions in a nitrogen-14 medium. DNA from these cells was found to consist of equal amounts of two different densities, one corresponding to the intermediate density of DNA of cells grown for only one division in nitrogen-14 medium, the other corresponding to cells grown exclusively in nitrogen-14 medium. This was inconsistent with dispersive replication, which would have resulted in a single density, lower than the intermediate density of the one-generation cells, but still higher than cells grown only in nitrogen-14 DNA medium, as the original nitrogen-15 DNA would have been split evenly among all DNA strands. The result was consistent with semiconservative replication, in that half of the second-generation cells would have one strand of the original nitrogen-15 DNA along with one of nitrogen-14 DNA, accounting for the DNA of intermediate density, while the DNA in the other half of the cells would consist entirely of nitrogen-14 DNA, one synthesized in the first division, and the other in the second division.

10 Things About the Amish

1.) The Amish religion states that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to dies on the cross and that through faith in the shed blood of Jesus people are reconciled to God”, according to the Amish People and their Lifestyle Website. They believe that the bible is the inspired word of god it is a part of their daily life. The Amish people dress conservatively because they believe that their clothing should encourage humility and separation from the world. Their clothing is an expression of faith.
2.) Amish people do not use electricity because they interpret linking with electrical wires as connection to the world, and the Bible tells them they are not to be conformed to the world. (Amish People and their Lifestyle Website) Therefore, the Amish decided it was best not to use electricity, not because it was evil or bad, but because it could lead to many temptations and the deterioration of church and family life.
3.) Amish men do not shave their beard after marriage, because a beard is a symbol of an adult Amish man. Amish men are not allowed to have mustaches because they are associated with the military.
4.) Amish roots can be traced back to Europe. In the 1600s they traveled to the United States to escape religious persecution for their beliefs.
5.) Amish people survive by compromising. They will only use electricity when they absolutely have to. For example, some Amish farmers will use tractors when it is absolutely necessary. They survive by finding other ways to do things. For example, Amish women churn butter by themselves to produce food. They also use the crops they get from farming to make food.
6.) Today there are over 25 different groups of Amish people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (the state with the most Amish people).
7.) On October 2, 2006 in Lancaster City a school shooting took place in an Amish school house called, West Nickel Mines Amish School. These shootings took place because some people disagreed with the Amish culture, and way of life, and were very opposed to the Amish beliefs.
8.) Amish people insisted that school would end after 8th grade. But this idea was greatly opposed by the government and laws. So some Amish people moved to other states where the laws were more lenient.
9.) The horse drawn buggy is a very popular form of transportation among the Amish community.
10.) The Amish are mainly farmers, but some are carpenters, cabinet makers, and blacksmiths.

Shawndell Young

I don't know what to blog about as I sit in this computer lab, so I've decided to talk about this video that at least 4 people seem to be watching simultaneously in this lab.

It's pretty ridiculous that a 6th grader can sing like that. It's incredible and makes me love show choir even more than I already do, which I didn't think was possible. I remember show choir when I was in middle school, and we were no where near as good as this group. They sound so much better than we did and seem to take it much more seriously. For me, show choir in middle school was just a fun activity I did because I liked music, and all my friends were in it. It was not until high school that I really started to get involved in show choir and take it more seriously. As I listen to Shawndell Young, I am compeltely amazed. Everyone seems to be talking about the "6th grader, who sounds exactly like Michael Jackson".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Show Choir Season

And show choir season begins yet again! We took a break for a couple of weeks after Urbandale, and our most awaited competition of the season had arrived, Great River. Our group had won this competition for the last couple of years, and it was expected of us to continue this tradition, so as you already know, the pressure was on. Whether it was to live up to the tradition that the alums had built, or to finally win a competition, or to just perform and have a blast doing it, all of us were thrilled and ready to perform. It's been said a million times but something "magical" seems to happen to our group at this venue. All our hard work seems to pay off, and after an outstanding day rounds, we felt incredible, however not incredible enough for a first place. Wheaton Warrenville had taken first in the day rounds, we had seen their show during the day, and they were fantastic. However, we didn't let this get to us, we performed our hearts out in the night round, and knew that we would be happy with whatever outcome, because we had just given it our all and performed our best show yet. In the end, we ended up getting second place, but we looked like winners, and celebrated like winners. Loosing to a group like Wheaton Warrenville seemed like a good way to be defeated; they truly deserved to win, and we were just thrilled that our show had peaked.

The Guns of August

The Guns of August is an exceptional documentary that uses rare archive footage to tell the story of World War I. This movie shows the rivalry between royalty in Europe that leads up to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austro Hungary, and the start of the “War to End All Wars”. It also shows the unsuccessful attempts to avoid the war that followed. The movie continues and shows the Germans as they invade Belgium and France, and how unskilled leaders on both sides resulted in the deaths of millions of men.

The Guns of August is a movie that was based on the book written by Barbara W. Tuchman. Therefore, it is very historically accurate. Another reason that it is so accurate is the fact that there were no actors used in this movie. It was an informative documentary, and the main purpose of the movie was to convey the European events of World War I to the audience. Another reason I thought this movie was so interesting was because we rarely see or hear about the European side of the war. It was fascinating to see the obstacles that Europeans faced and their perspective on World War I.

The movie begins with the melancholy scene of European royalty as they gather for the funeral of Edward VII of Great Britain in 1910. It then continues with shots of various rulers and important things they accomplished during the next four years in history. Although this part of the movie was very accurate and informative, I found that parts of this movie were boring because it only presented the facts. Most historical movies are forced to change some of the historical events in order to make the movie more interesting. However, Guns of August did not do this. The movie was rarely dramatic or exciting, and I therefore found myself getting bored.


Flyboys is a film that shows the the experiences of a group of young Americans who volunteer to become fighter pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille.The squadron consisted of five French officers and thirty eight American volunteers who wanted to fight in World War I before the United States joined the war in 1917. The film mainly deals with the struggles that each pilot faces while flying during the war. It also deals with the multiple aerial fights during World War I.
Although this was an excellent movie, it has been criticized greatly for its lack of historical accuracy. One historical inaccuarcy was the fact that the Lafayette Escadrille was conjoined with the Lafayette Flying Corps, a unit where Eugene Bullard actually served. Another inaccuracy were the details of the World War I fighter aircraft technology. For example, the aircraft engines in some scenes are pictured as not moving. However, the rotary engines used in aircrafts during World War I rotated with the propeller. This mistake is because the Nieuport and Fokker aircraft used in the movie were flying replicas built with new engines.
Another inaccuracy in the film is the singular use of Fokker Triplanes, which were not widely used during World War I . Also, in the movie, the RMS Aquitania is depicted as a luxury liner. But in 1914, it was converted to use as an armed merchant cruiser, and by 1915 had been put into use as a troop transport ship. But it is believed that the film might have used it to demonstrate the style of transport ships during the war.
The use of weapons and ordnance was also inaccurate and exaggerated. Anti-aircraft artillery shown in use by the Germans was not used by any side in World War I. If any of the flak bursts in the movie came as close as they appeared in the film, the aircraft would have been most likely destroyed. This special efffect was obviously used to make the movie more interesting and dramatic, and was not historically accurate. Also, one scene describes the Germans as using a new 9 mm calibre machine gun, but no German machine gun was ever produced in 9 mm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


meh: generally used when upset and or frustrated. May also be used as the sound of a goat. Word to express displeasure.

Used in a sentence: MEHH, my Myspace isn't working again!

Meh is a fantastic word, catch phrase, noise. Call it whatever you want, but the word "Meh" has become a universally used term. Ok, well maybe not universal, but I will admit to using it atleast five times a day. Maybe this means I am displeased with life a lot, or that I complain a lot. But I personally think it is the way I feel when I say it, it's quite empowering, I can't even explain it.

So technically, we don't even have to blog this week. It's quite weird because usually I think of blogging as an obligation, a chore that I generally put off until Sunday night but I guess when you don't have to do something, it makes you want to do it even more.

Urban dictionary is entertaining.

"Sour Patch kids came from Canada"


Urban dictionary makes me laugh really really hard:)

i think i have a slight obsession, well no not really slight with


Once upon a time there was a beautiful fairy princess named Pasheba. She had gills and lived underwater. As beautiful as she was she had a very deep and dark secret. She was an ogre. Like Fiona, from Shrek she was the ugliest creature ever when the sun went down. One day when she was galloping through a field she collided into a beautiful goat named Shaneba.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lady Gaga

For those of you who think Lady Gaga has no talent:) This video speaks for itself.

Monday, February 1, 2010


India has a rich culture and history that began thousands of years ago and flourished as a prosperous country with a successful economy and vibrant culture. The known history of Indian began with the Indus Valley civilization which spread and flourished in the Northern part of India from 3300 to 1300 BCE. India progressed as an empire over six periods, the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Vedic Period, Maurya period, Golden Age, and Classical Age. Over time, India conquered new territories and became a strong empire with very affluent traditions and customs.
Two of the main factors of Indian culture are economy and agriculture. The Indian economy is mainly comprised of encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Services are the major component of economy in India, accounting for one third of the labor force and more than half of its output. Agriculture is more popular having one half of the labor force participating in these types of labor. The economy has posted an average growth rate of more than 7% in the decade since 1997, reducing poverty by about 10 percentage points. India achieved 8.5% GDP growth in 2006, 9.0% in 2007, and 7.3% in 2008, significantly expanding manufactures through late 2008. India also is capitalizing on its large numbers of well-educated people skilled in the English language to become a major exporter of software services and software workers. Strong growth combined with easy consumer credit, a real estate boom, and fast-rising commodity prices fueled inflation concerns from mid-2006 to August 2008. Rising tax revenues from better tax administration and economic expansion helped New Delhi make progress in reducing its fiscal deficit for three straight years before skyrocketing global commodity prices more than doubled the cost of government energy and fertilizer subsidies.
Diversity can be found in Indian food. Traveling through the country you can find varieties of food in different regions. For example, North Indian cuisine contains a lot of dairy and gravy based products, while South Indian Cuisine puts a strong emphasis on rice and coconuts. East Indian Cuisine is famous for its dessert, while West Indian Cuisine is famous for its fish and sea food, because it is in proximity to the coast. Spices are also an important part of Indian cuisine. Correct use and blending of the aromatic spices is crucial to the proper preparation of Indian cuisine. Even oil is an important part of cooking, whether it's mustard oil in the north or coconut oil in the south, each section of the country has its preference. Vegetables also vary in different regions, according to the season.
Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, with Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism as the smaller religions. Hinduism is polytheistic with many different gods and myths. Most of the myths and stories about these gods have to deal with a bad event occurring on the earth, and a god saving people or solving problems. Foe example there are ten avatars, in Hinduism that were all put on Earth by God Vishnu. These avatars were put on the earth when times were dreadful and they helped to make things better. The “main god” in Hinduism is Bramha, but there are many other gods including Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, and Ganesh. Different people and families may choose one God that they favor, and pray to and worship that god. On the other hand, Islam is monotheistic, and it is believed that Allah is the main God, and Muhammed is his prophet. There are five pillars in Islam and they are Shahada (Profession of Faith), Salat (Prayers), Zakat (Giving of Alms), Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Islam is not as popular in India, and is mostly practiced in the Middle East.
There are many different holidays celebrated in India. One of these holidays is Diwali, also known as Deepawali, or the festival of lights. One of the main customs is to light small candles called Diyas. Firecrackers are burst and sweets are shared with family and friends. Diwali is a holiday, like many other Indian holidays, that lasts for many days and usually takes place around the end of October to the beginning of November. Holi is celebrated in March, and it is a very enjoyable holiday. Children run to the streets and parks and throw Kum Kum (colorful powder) at one another. Holi marks the end of winter, and the beginning of spring, and it is a very exciting holiday for all. Dusserah and Durga Puja are religious holidays that are especially popular in Bengal and Bangladesh. It takes place in the months of September and October. The final holiday is Independence Day; the day India gained its independence from Britain. On August 15th, every year, Indians hoist their national flag and show their spirit by flying kites that symbolize freedom.
Indian architecture is some of the most interesting and beautiful architecture. Indian architecture began in the Harappan civilization, which flourished during the Bronze Age. Extensive excavation work that has been done since Independence has so far identified more than 100 sites belonging to this civilization. A few prominent among them are Dholavira (Gujarat), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Lothal (Gujarat), Sarkotada (Gujarat), Diamabad (Maharashtra), Alamgirpur (U.P.), Bhagwanpura (Haryana), Banawali (Haryana), Kuntasi, Padri (Gujarat) and Mauda (Jammu).